I am back.

Brussels and Amsterdam were absolutely amazing. Went way too fast and I’m already missing it, but I am excited to get back home and get ready for CoMo later this week. I guess I could give you some highlights from my travels, but you can ask me any questions you have and I will respond. That way, I know what you want to hear about. In the meantime, here are some of the cooler photos from my journey:

Grand Place during the Light Show.


The Atomium in Brussels


One of Amsterdam's many canals frozen over after a lot of winter weather.

Now then…I’ve had these thoughts brewing for over a week now, so I am going to go ahead and give you my final analysis on the end of the college football season.
–Mizzou lost to a Navy team that is not as bad as a lot of people would like to think. Sure, they looked horrible after Danario’s TD, but Navy’s a good squad. That being said, I wonder about next year. Gabbert’s good. I don’t doubt that. The running game gets D-Wash and De’Vion Moore back, but they were largely ineffective for most of the season. With Spoon and D. Alexander NFL-bound, who do the Tigers look to on both sides of the ball? It will be interesting to see.
–I missed a lot of the bowls, considering I left for Europe on the 27th, but I caught some highlights and watched a few before I left.
The Wyoming/Fresno St. match-up in the season’s first bowl game was a classic. 2 OTs and a big win for former Mizzou O-coordinator Dave Christensen. A big turn-around for him and the Cowboys, as they finished 7-6 for their first winning season since ’04.
The bowl Cincy almost fell to turned out to be a good game. Pitt came out on top in the Meineke Car Care Bowl thanks to a late field goal in a hard-fought win over UNC.
Northwestern blew another golden opportunity at a bowl win. Granted, Auburn basically handed them the game down the stretch, but it’s brutal to miss two field goals in the closing seconds and then try a trick play in overtime before losing by three. All after pissing away their chance to end their bowl losing streak last season against my Tigers in the Alamo Bowl.
Texas Tech came out on top after a ton of adversity. It isn’t easy to play in a bowl game only a week after your head coach is fired amid a whirlwind of controversy. Then your starting QB goes down. And the Red Raiders still hung in there and came back before edging Michigan State 41-31.
How about the ‘nads showed by Idaho coach Robb Akey in the Humanitarian Bowl? Goes for two with :02 on the clock to knock of Bowling Green. I love the call even if it is an essentially meaningless bowl game (like all of them but one, but that’s another story). He would catch a ton of crap if he blew it, but he did it anyway. But don’t let the loss overshadow how good BGSU wideout Freddie Barnes is. Got to see him in person, and he’s the real deal. If you don’t believe me, I think his NCAA-record 155 receptions this year speaks for itself. That’s after the senior only had 143 in his first three seasons. Not too shabby.
Impressive win for Nebraska in the shutout win over Arizona. 33 points was the most their offense managed since beating Louisiana-Lafayette 55-0 back in mid-September. The Holiday Bowl win gave the Huskers their first 10-win season since 2003. I think Nebraska football is very close to being back.
–The first ever non-national title game with two perfect teams lived up to its billing. I still think this was the BCS keeping both of these teams from proving anything against the “big boys,” but it was the perfect way to do so. The game didn’t disappoint. Hard-fought classic that came down to the final seconds. Some trickery by Boise St. and the Broncos turning the table on the Horned Frogs by making the big defensive plays. All-around good stuff.
–Terrelle Pryor stepping up in the Rose Bowl was a shocker to me. I knew Ohio State’s defense would have a tough task stopping Oregon’s offense, and they did a good job of it, but I never expected TP to help them as much as he did. A big win for the Buckeyes, to say the least.
–Lots of credit to Garrett Gilbert for the BCS National Title Game. Couldn’t have imagined a tougher scenario to come in, and his coaches hurt him with the play calls in the first half. But a lot of good things came when he got the chance to work in the second half. It’s still a shame we couldn’t see that game with Colt McCoy. A lot of things left to wonder about as a result.
But still credit Alabama. They are a very good team and are extremely deserving of a national title. Last year, there was a lot of talk about Utah and their credibility for a share of the title. This year, Boise went undefeated. But no one is questioning ‘Bama because they are that good. I’m not saying it’s right, but they deserve almost all of the credit they’re getting.
–Lastly, let me touch on the Sugar Bowl. Cincinnati is good. Florida is better. There’s no denying that. There was little that said otherwise going into the game. And then Florida was clicking on all cylinders while Cincinnati got off to a slow start and never recovered. I understand that. Cincy is far from being a elite college football program. That’s why I don’t mind this blowout as much. The Bearcats were dominated by a bigger, faster, better and more talented Gator team. No denying it. No way to deny it. That’s all I have on the Sugar Bowl.
That game doesn’t take away from what UC did this season. 12-0 is special.

This video is all pictures, but I like the song better. So I’m posting it, too.

The margin for error is so small in college football that an undefeated regular season is something special. You can ask anyone. Even if people want to downplay Cincinnati’s competition, a 12-0 regular season is an accomplishment. Especially considering you had a potential Heisman QB go down midway through the season in what was the toughest game up to that point. No team has ever gone undefeated when starting more than one quarterback. Even with one, it’s tough. I think that says a lot about this team and the potential this Cincinnati program has. I’m excited for the future of Bearcat football. And I am grateful to all of the people who brought it to the heights no one ever thought possible.
Now, we look ahead. Cincinnati has done what it’s done the last three years behind, with all due respect, relative “nobodies” on their roster. Cincinnati isn’t getting the same recruits as a Florida, USC, Ohio State, Alabama, or even West Virginia has gotten. They don’t have the history of programs to lure recruits like Florida State, Miami or Michigan. What they have is a bunch of self-made players and a program that has begun building with smaller, slower and less talented players than a lot of people they’ve faced.
It is for that reason that I don’t think Cincinnati is going to be just a flash-in-the-pan program. They’re already getting some respect in the “Way-too-early Top 25.” I think, if Butch Jones can do his thing, this program has staying power. Brian Kelly laid the foundation – fan base, attention (nationally and locally), money and facilities. Butch Jones has the chance to build on that.

Even with BK, T. Pike and Party Mardy gone, I still expect many more celebrations like this for UC football.

–This is getting long and I’m about done with typing, so I will only briefly touch on the end to the Bengals season. I was very much excited for this year’s team. I thought, even with all the weaknesses we’d seen the past six to seven weeks, they had a chance to at least give me something to cheer about. And they did…for half a quarter.
They lost to a good Jets team with a superior game plan. The fact that Bob Bratkowski can’t make Carson Palmer look better than Mark Sanchez is a joke. Even with the best defense in the league, a good offensive game plan behind a very good running game and a good defense should’ve been enough for the win. Maybe, with Ced Benson running wild, a play action pass would’ve been a good call. But I’m no Bob Bratkowski, so I don’t know if that’d be a good idea. Unbelievable.
Step one this off-season: Fire Brat.
Step two: keep Mike Zimmer.
Step three: get Carson and Ochocinco some help in the passing game.
Step four: be ready for a much tougher schedule next season. That means more depth on defense. You could tell they were running out of gas.
Step five: I don’t really know. I just have four steps right now. But I think they’re all good ones.

–Now, courtesy of my sister, I leave you with a few laughs…spelling bee style.
–First, how awkward is this kid? Especially from an aspiring journalist’s point of view, this may be the worst and most uncomfortable interview ever. Kudos to this chick for (mostly) keeping it together.

–And now, this kid’s not awkward. Just an unfortunate, yet hilarious, miscommunication. Everyone was thinking it, and I love that he said it. A very good line at the :45 mark.

Altiora.

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~ by nchaney3 on January 11, 2010.

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